Sundance Respect Rally Downsizes With Smaller Hollywood Presence

Sundance Respect Rally - H 2018

"We have reached the breaking point. We have reached the tipping point. We demand our rights. Say after me, 'Resist. Persist. Insist,'" attorney Gloria Allred chanted with the audience. "Fight for your rights. Stand up for your rights."

Some 1,000 people converged Saturday morning on City Park in North Park City, Utah, to celebrate women and minorities and decry misogyny at the Respect Rally, one year after the worldwide Women's Marches.

"This entire year has been the winter of our discontent," attorney Gloria Allred told the bundled-up crowd, who braved the 22-degree temperatures and snow.

"We have reached the breaking point. We have reached the tipping point. We demand our rights. Say after me, 'Resist. Persist. Insist,'" she chanted with the audience. "Fight for your rights. Stand up for your rights." 

The gathering, estimated at about 1,000 people, according to Park City police, was much smaller than last year, when more than 4,000 women and men swept down Main Street for a sister march and rally calling for the respect of human rights in the face of a Donald Trump presidency.

That event, which came one day after Trump's inauguration, had a must-attend urgency, with business at the Sundance Film Festival and Market coming to a complete standstill. This year, business continued as usual, with screenings and meetings held during the hourlong program.

Actress Tessa Thompson opened the rally with a call for women to continue being vocal. "We've also come here again today to say, 'Mr. Trump and all those like him, your time in power may not yet be up, but our time to stay silent is.'"

In addition to Allred and Thompson, speakers included Jane Fonda, Common, Daveed Diggs, Nick Offerman, Sage Trudell, Rafael Casal and Bart Powaukee, Salt Lake City Mayor Jackie Biskupski, and Utah candidate for Senate Jenny Wilson. Other than the speaker lineup, the industry turnout was light, with a few notable exceptions, including Marta Kauffman and Kathryn Hahn.

In her address, Fonda slammed Fox News and called for women to get out and vote. "If we want to protect our voting rights, we have to take back governorships," she told the crowd. "There are 13 million restaurant workers; 70 percent are women. Federal wage is $2.13 per hour. These women are vulnerable to sexual harassment. Seven states have fair wage, and sexual abuse dropped by 50 percent. This is why TimesUp calls for equality and diversity."

She concluded: "When we are equal [in pay], we are not abused." 

Common recited parts of his song "The Day Women Took Over" before sending a message of positivity for the Time'sUp movement. "For so long it's been culture of oppression and abuse. Time is up," he said. "Thank you, ladies, for taking over."

Emmy-winning Master of None writer Lena Waithe struck an optimistic note when addressing the crowd but urged vigilance. "I think society is a lot further than some people want to give us credit for, but we still gotta keep working," she said. "We still gotta keep marching. We still gotta be standing with places like Planned Parenthood. We still gotta keep standing with the amazing politicians that have our best interests at heart. We also gotta make sure that we support our press. It's important that our journalists have the support that they need. I remember sharing Anderson Cooper's amazing piece about Haiti. It really humanized them. That's what journalists are supposed to do. They are supposed to remind us who we are, all of our flaws and all of our beauty."

Organizer Cynthia Levine's aim was to recognize the victories of the past year, when women's voices in the #MeToo and #TimesUp movements have brought about significant awareness in the film industry. Ironically, Harvey Weinstein — the Sundance fixture whose alleged sexual harassment and assault sparked so much soul-searching in the industry — was not invoked in any of the speeches.